Paula Johnson

Holding Back In-grade Retention – Podcast Episode 182 | Classnotes Podcast 182

Classnotes Podcast (May 11, 2018) Schools have long used the practice of holding students back to repeat a grade for such problems as failing grades and excessive absences. Such in-grade retention practices based on the premise that students need that time to catch up either academically or socially. But it hasn’t proven to work that way. Instead, it has long-term negative impacts on students’ psychological, behavioral, economic and social well-being and it increases the changes students will later drop out of school (11 times more likely).

In this episode, Paula Johnson, M.A., discusses these issues and the potential civil rights red flags that are raised by data showing Hispanic and Black students across grade levels are one and a half times more likely to be retained than White students. She and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA senior education associate, also outline effective alternatives to in-grade retention. Show length: 14:06

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In-grade Retention National Trends and Civil Rights Concerns, by Paula N. Johnson, M.A., IDRA Newsletter

eBook: Failing In-Grade Retention – outlines how an ineffective practice with lasting consequences, high price tags and civil rights implications can be wiped out by schools doing what schools do best: Teaching today’s children.

“In-Grade Retention in the Early Years – What’s Holding Children Back?,” by Paula N. Johnson, M.A., IDRA Newsletter

Beyond Social Promotion and Retention – Five Strategies to Help Students Succeed, by D. Johnson & A. Rudolph

NASP Position Statement: Grade Retention and Social Promotion

Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?, by M.R. West 

Accountability that Doesn’t Hurt Students, by Albert Cortez, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

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Show Notes

  • Paula shares the primary reasons that students are retained today and talks about the negative long-term impact these decisions can have.

  • Pula explains why early intervention with struggling students is more effective than expecting benefits from a “catch-up year.”

  • Paula talks about the civil rights concerns around in-school retention.

  • Paula underscores the need for teachers to take a pedagogical approach that reaches diverse learners and benefits all students and then to actively involve parents in all discussions about potential retention.

  • Aurelio asks Paula about the drawbacks of “social promotion” of students who are not prepared to advance to the next grade.

  • Paula and Aurelio discuss the balance of school resources and funding with the need for quality teaching.

  • Paula closes with advice for principals on how to best support, engage, and challenge their students.